Luis Suárez

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La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid win in routs, remain tied in title race

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Saturday’s Premier League roundup | Sunday preview ]

Barcelona 4-1 Villarreal

Barca and Real Madrid remain tied, now on 84 points, as La Liga’s title race begins the final sprint to the finish (Barca have just two games remaining). Each of the title hopefuls won in convincing fashion on Saturday. First up, it was Luis Enrique’s Blaugrana.

First up for Barca was Neymar, who put the home side 1-0 up in the 21st minute. Cedric Bakambu pulled Villarreal level 11 minutes later, but Lionel Messi bagged 50th goal of the season, and what would turn out to be the winner, just before halftime.

Luis Suarez made it 3-0 halfway through the second half, and Messi bagged no. 51, from the penalty spot, with exquisite style, not long before full-time. The Barcelona freight train is moving full-steam ahead, hoping against all likelihood for a slip-up that’ll hand them their 25th league title.

Granada 0-4 Real Madrid

Madrid’s game in hand, which won’t be played until May 17 (away to 11th-place Celta Vigo), seems almost certain to decide the 2016-17 La Liga champions, as Barca hold onto the top spot by virtue of their better record in head-to-head matchups this season. On Saturday, there was absolutely nothing that 19th-place Granada, who were relegated last weekend, could do to slow down a side that omitted Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric from the starting lineup. As it turns out, Madrid’s backups are also quite talented.

James Rodriguez put Los Blancos ahead in the 3rd minute and doubled the advantage just eight minutes later.

Another quick double, this one by Alvaro Morata, made it 3-0 and 4-0 in the 30th and 35th minutes, and that was that. Game over after barely half an hour.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sporting Gijon 1-0 Las Palmas
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Eibar

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Alaves vs. Athletic Bilbao — 6 a.m. ET
Valencia vs. Osasuna — 10:15 a.m. ET
Deportivo La Coruña vs. Espanyol — 12:30 p.m. ET
Malaga vs. Celta Vigo — 2:45 p.m. ET

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Leganes vs. Real Betis — 2:45 p.m. ET

La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid hold serve in tight title race

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Super-duper Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of top 7 ]

Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona

Barcelona are doing all they can do — win — in their bid to usurp Real Madrid in the race for the title. While they entered the weekend — and still are — ahead of their El Clasico rivals based on head-to-head results this season, Los Blancos still have a game in hand which will surely decide whether Madrid claim their 33rd top-division title, or a 25th for Barca.

On Saturday, Luis Enrique’s side had more than just the title at stake — also at stake: the Derbi Barceloni, against fellow Catalan side Espanyol.

For 45 minutes, the home side held firm and refused to break, but once Luis Suarez put the Blaugrana ahead in the 50th minute, that was all she wrote. Ivan Rakitic doubled the advantage in the 76th minute, and Suarez completed the scoring 11 minutes later.

Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia

By the time the derby kicked off, Madrid had already applied the pressure and gone three points clear with a 2-1 victory that was a whole lot closer than the final score indicates.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark, and Zinedine Zidane’s side was well on its way to victory. Ronaldo followed up his opening goal with a missed penalty kick 10 minutes into the second half, and Daniel Parejo pulled the visitors level with a sensational free kick just eight minutes before the end of regular time. Points looked sure to be dropped, and the door opened wider for Barca, but Marcelo was prepared to play the part of hero on the day, and the Brazilian left back bagged one of the season’s more improbable goals, a right-footed strike from the top of the box, in the 86th minute.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Las Palmas 0-5 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 2-1 Granada

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Osasuna vs. Deportivo La Coruña — 6 a.m. ET
Real Betis vs. Alaves — 10:15 a.m. ET
Eibar vs. Leganes — 12:30 p.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:45 p.m. ET

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Malaga vs. Sevilla — 3 p.m. ET

Juventus upends Barcelona to reach Champions League semifinals

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Barcelona looked for a second straight miracle comeback in the 2016/17 Champions League, but it was not to be as the stout Juventus defense held up under heavy fire for a 0-0 draw, seeing the Italians move into the semifinals with a 3-0 aggregate advantage.

The Spanish giants held much of the possession throughout the match, with Juventus happy to absorb the pressure. Georgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci lived up to their reputation as one of the world’s best central defensive partnerships, while Alex Sandro and former Barcelona full-back Dani Alves did the work on the flanks.

Lionel Messi had the best early chance with a wide open shot near the penalty area on 20 minutes, but couldn’t direct it goalwards, firing just wide right, leaving Luis Enrique baffled at the missed opportunity. There was a scary moment just before halftime when Messi went up for an aerial challenge and was undercut by Miralem Pjanic, landing square on his cheek. Messi recovered from his fall as his cheek began to bleed, and he returned for the second half with a bandage.

Juventus had opportunities as they built themselves into the game, with Juan Cuadrado proving the most dangerous. On the other end, Juventus defenders continued to usher the Barcelona attackers into wide areas of the box, forcing them to shoot from tight angles.

Sami Khedira was booked for hauling down Luis Suarez past the hour mark, meaning he is suspended for the semifinal first leg. As the final whistle blew, it marked an enormous 530 minutes since Juventus last conceded a goal in Champions League play, a 9th minute goal by Sevilla back in November.

La Liga wrap: Morata bags Real hat trick, Barca wins big

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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It remains a two-horse race in La Liga, as even Sevilla couldn’t stop Barcelona from keeping pace with Real Madrid.

[ JPW: 3 things from Stamford Bridge ]


Leganes 2-4 Real Madrid

Alvaro Morata continues to make the most of limited playing time at Real Madrid, burying a hat trick as Real Madrid stayed productive ahead of this weekend’s big Madrid Derby.

Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla

The reigning champs made quick work of Sevilla, putting the visitors well in the table’s rearview mirror with a Luis Suarez overhead kick and a pair of Lionel Messi goals in eight first half minutes. Barca remains two points behind Real, having played one more match.

Elsewhere

Osasuna got its second win of the season, both coming on the road, as Alex Berenguer led the side to a 1-0 win at Alaves.

— Deportivo de la Coruna and Granada staged a scoreless draw.

— Ex-Barca man Sandro Ramirez scored his eighth goal of the season and first in 2017 as Malaga won at Sporting Gijon.

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Real Madrid 29 22 5 2 78 30 48 12-3-0 10-2-2 71
 Barcelona 30 21 6 3 88 26 62 11-3-1 10-3-2 69
 Atlético Madrid 30 18 7 5 55 23 32 11-2-2 7-5-3 61
 Sevilla 30 17 7 6 52 37 15 10-3-1 7-4-5 58
 Villarreal 30 14 9 7 42 23 19 8-3-4 6-6-3 51
 Athletic 30 15 5 10 39 33 6 11-3-2 4-2-8 50
 Real Sociedad 30 15 4 11 43 41 2 7-4-4 8-0-7 49
 Eibar 29 12 8 9 47 41 6 8-3-4 4-5-5 44
 Espanyol 30 11 10 9 42 42 0 7-5-3 4-5-6 43
 Celta Vigo 28 12 5 11 43 46 -3 9-1-4 3-4-7 41
 Alavés 30 10 10 10 29 37 -8 4-7-4 6-3-6 40
 Las Palmas 29 9 8 12 45 48 -3 8-5-2 1-3-10 35
 Valencia 29 9 6 14 41 51 -10 6-3-5 3-3-9 33
 Betis 30 8 7 15 32 47 -15 5-6-5 3-1-10 31
 Málaga 30 7 9 14 34 47 -13 6-2-6 1-7-8 30
 Deportivo 30 6 10 14 31 46 -15 5-5-5 1-5-9 28
 Leganes 30 6 9 15 25 46 -21 3-5-7 3-4-8 27
 Sporting de Gijón 30 5 7 18 31 58 -27 4-2-9 1-5-9 22
 Granada 30 4 8 18 26 62 -36 4-4-6 0-4-12 20
 Osasuna 30 2 8 20 30 69 -39 0-5-10 2-3-10 14

La Liga roundup: Real Madrid, Barcelona hold serve, still 2 points apart

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
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A roundup of the weekend’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Arsenal come back twice for draw with Man City | Three things ]

Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves

The math is extraordinarily simple — more so than the reality, granted — for Real Madrid: win each and every one of their remaining 11 games, and they’ll be La Liga champions once again. With a two-point lead on Barcelona, and a game in hand, coming into the weekend, Zinedine Zidane’s is squarely in the driver’s seat.

On Sunday, Los Blancos made life a tad more difficult for themselves than they would have liked, but in the end came away with all three points against 10th-place Alaves. Karim Benzema made it 1-0 just after the half-hour mark, which is where it would stay for 54 slightly nerve-wracking minutes.

Isco would eventually make it 2-0 in the 85th minute, and Nacho provided security beyond reasonable necessity two minutes after that, sending Madrid five points clear of Barca for a few hours’ time.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Real Madrid 28 21 5 2 74 28 46 12-3-0 9-2-2 68
 Barcelona 29 20 6 3 85 26 59 10-3-1 10-3-2 66
 Atlético Madrid 29 17 7 5 54 23 31 10-2-2 7-5-3 58
 Sevilla 29 17 7 5 52 34 18 10-3-1 7-4-4 58
 Real Sociedad 29 15 4 10 43 40 3 7-4-4 8-0-6 49
 Villarreal 29 13 9 7 41 23 18 8-3-4 5-6-3 48
 Athletic 29 14 5 10 37 33 4 10-3-2 4-2-8 47

Granada 1-4 Barcelona

“No Lionel Messi” (suspension) was a bit of a problem for Barca on Sunday, but only for a short time. Luis Suarez put Barca ahead a minute before halftime, but the lead was short-lived as Jeremie Boga finished a lightning-quick counter-attack for Granada to being the home side back to 1-1 in the 50th minute.

Nearly 15 minutes went by, and the title looked a million miles away, until Paco Alcacer slotted home a counter-attack chance of his own in the 64th minute. An own goal and a tap-in by Neymar would complete the scoring, and keep the Blaugrana within striking distance ahead of a decisive period for their title rivals — the Madrid derby is next Saturday, followed by El Clasico two weeks after that.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Saturday

Malaga 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 1-1 Leganes
Villarreal 2-3 Eibar
Osasuna 1-2 Athletic Bilbao

Sunday

Sevilla 0-0 Sporting Gijon
Valencia 3-0 Deportivo La Coruña